By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Scottish Renewables today calls for a new British ‘green’ bond to allow the public to invest in renewable energy as part of its priorities for next UK Government after the 2015 election.
It is proposed that the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank would oversee the scheme.
The Scottish Renewables manifesto also sets out the case for continued government subsidies for the energy, and the industry’s priorities during the next UK Parliament, which include:
Commitment to a continued focus on reducing climate change emissions from the energy sector
Greater focus on renewable heat and renewable transport
Greater investment in energy storage
Grid connections for Scotland’s islands
A triennial energy summit between the UK and devolved governments
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive, Scottish Renewables, said: “Creation of a ‘green bond would make it easy for people to participate, and also reduce the levels of cash that the country would have to seek from overseas funds to invest in our infrastructure.
“It would also be a great way to widen engagement with this new industry as government seeks to increase levels of community ownership and investment.
“The UK needs to invest tens of billions of pounds in the energy sector over coming years just to keep the lights on and to continue the move away from fossil fuels.
“New power generation, transmission lines and renewable heat projects all require big capital investment up front, but could offer savers a decent return on their money over the life of the project, certainly beating the record low interest rates on savings accounts today.
“It’s time to give every saver in Britain the opportunity to invest in and to benefit from the continued growth of the green energy sector.”
Scottish Renewables also wants to move subsidies for renewables and nuclear energy away from consumers’ bills and into general public spending.
A spokesman added: “Despite our energy prices being among the lowest in Europe, Scotland and the UK face a real challenge with fuel poverty. Support for renewables is a small part of the average householder’s bill – around 70p a week – but that could be cut to zero if the costs were met from general taxation instead.”
The move follows a related call by London-based UK Renewables for a plan to allow people living near new windfarms to buy a stake in them for as little as £5.
Stuart added: “Community involvement in renewable energy schemes can bring huge benefits to all involved, with great work already being done in places like Fintry, Strirlingshire and Ardrishaig in Argyllshire.
“But this level of involvement won’t necessarily be right for every scheme, so we also want to see the creation of a ‘green’ bond, to allow anyone, regardless of where they live, to invest in renewable energy.”